The Container Ship – Alana

Sarah’s blog 4/10/22

Yesterday, The Alana, the container ship carrying The Bananabox Trust container with our boxes, has now arrived at Antwerp, Belgium after leaving Scotland from Grangmouth Port. We were following its journey earlier and took these screenshots at lunchtime today.

So, the race is on….can we collect 13,444 kilometres, which is the distance the boxes travel from here to The Foundation, before the container arrives in Malawi at the end of November/start of December? We are now 40.58% of the journey covered which is 5,334.133 kilometres! Well done everyone!! Now we need to try to get the other 59% of kilometres collected….can we do it before the container arrives?

We need you to donate your kilometres….just from your usual walks, runs or cycles…. just email me to tell me how many kilometres and I’ll add it to the total. If you want to send a photo too then that’s great but not necessary if you want to remain anonymous. The more people who take part then the quicker we will get to our total….so please do email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

The whole reason for collecting kilometres is to raise funds for and awareness of the new school we are helping to build…. Bright Futures Secondary School. The most vulnerable young people who are supported by The Foundation will be able to attend secondary school free of charge. We want all children to have the gift of education. It is their way out of poverty. If you can spare £10 we would be so grateful. We just need 400 people to each donate £10 then we can get the roof on the school! You can donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444 I’ll post more photos from the school build during the next couple of days. They builders are working really hard, and progress is being made every day!

Thank you for reading and supporting and please do get in touch to donate your kilometres. Thanks, Sarah x

The Alana is the container ship on which the Bananabox Trust container has been loaded
First stop Antwerp, Belgium

Mwiza Mtambo

Sarah’s blog 2/10/22

Everything takes so long to get to Malawi that we sometimes forget about the lovely things that have been sent until they get there!

Mwiza has additional needs. He has low muscle tone and we thought it would be a good idea for him to have a chair to support him some of the time rather than him lying down when his muscles were tired.

We didn’t want to get a normal height folding chair as it would be difficult for him to get in and out of without him falling and hurting himself. Mwiza’s sponsor bought this chair and I think they’ve made a great choice. Levison went to the Mtambo house this morning and said Mwiza was delighted with his new seat.

Sometimes it’s the little things that we take for granted that can make all the difference. Thanks to Mwiza’s sponsor, for his trainset and toys sent previously and his new chair, his life is just that little bit better.

“How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.’

Morgan Freeman
Mwiza relaxing in his new chair, thanks to his sponsor

New t-shirts -thank you!

Sarah’s blog 30/09/22

These lovely blue t-shirts were sent by Julian of whose small charity is called ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’. Julian collects sports clothes and other clothes like school uniforms every weekend to send on to people who will make good use of them. He’s previously sent boxes of gifts to The Foundation including football strips and boots, tracksuits, hockey equipment and Christmas jumpers and hats. We are very grateful to him for all he does and to the people who donate to him.

I’m going to be doing a few posts over the weekend as there is so much going on at The Foundation! It’s exciting to see the school building progressing and the children will be adding some more kilometres to our total virtual fundraising journey over the weekend. The link to the fundraiser is https://gofund.me/44a92444

Julian thank you again and thank you to all our supporters. We couldn’t do what we do without your help. Thanks for reading and supporting. Sarah x

l-r: Chance Kaonga, Laston Nyondo, Loveness Siyame, Austed Silungwe, Tryness Sichamba, William Nyirenda, Weston Nyondo, Bonface Nyondo, Maria Chizumira, Peter Kaonga and Obrain Nyondo are all delighted with their new t-shirts.

Let’s build a school!

Sarah’s blog 30/09/22

The third kiln has been fired and those bricks are cooling down and will be ready to be used next week. There are plenty of bricks available and the builders are working very hard. The foundations have been completed and the walls are going up. It’s a really exciting time and lots of people are amazed and delighted that there will be a secondary school in their village. They are also extremely thankful as it will mean their children or grandchildren will be able to go to this school. Bright Futures Secondary School. Enabling children to have a brighter and better future.

Unfortunately, secondary school has to be paid for in Malawi. So, unless you can afford to pay the fees or have a sponsor to pay the fees for you then your education stops at primary school level. Education is the way out of poverty for these young people. They are desperate to go to school. We need you. With your help we can give them the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444

It will be cheaper to educate the young people at Bright Futures Secondary School as they can continue to live at home with their families/guardians. This saves on boarding fees, taxis to and from school each term and many other extras that have to be paid for at the nearest secondary schools. Living at home will also be better for them and their families. Many of the young people are living with elderly relatives who rely on them to help with chores like fetching water or firewood or help with childcare for younger children.

Three things I keep saying are:

  1. It’s always about teamwork so we cannot do what we do to support over 500 of the most vulnerable children without your help.
  2. We are so grateful for everyone who supports us whether financially or practically. Thank you again.
  3. Our charity is run by volunteers, so you know that there is no money deducted from your donations for admin or salary costs. It all goes towards the projects we support. Your donations make a huge difference.

We still need some more funds to complete the two classrooms and latrines that will be in the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. We still need your help. Please will you donate £10 today? We need 400 people to each donate £10 to complete phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School. Will you help us? Will you help the children? Will you be part of the team that gives the gift of education to hundreds of the most vulnerable children living in poverty in rural northern Malawi? Please donate £10 today. You CAN make a difference. You can help us continue Changing Lives Malawi.

You can either email me for the charity bank details contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or you can donate to our fundraiser: https://gofund.me/44a92444 Together we can build a school! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

We need 400 people to each give £10 to finish the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. Please donate £10 https://gofund.me/44a92444
Gaps are left in the kiln for fires to be built. The kiln is covered in mud and fires are are lit and burn all night
People keep the fires buring all night. Then the kiln is left to cool down for over a week before the bricks can be used
The builders are working hard, and the walls are going up fast
It won’t be long until the walls are completed
It’s great to see Bright Futures Secondary School is actually a reality!
please donate today https://gofund.me/44a92444

Netball Posts

Sarah’s blog 29/09/22

One of the great team sports that the children and young people enjoy is netball. It is really popular in Malawi. We are fortunate to have other charities partnering with us and The Foundation. Community Sports Leaders Africa is one such small charity. They have paid to have netball posts made for The Foundation and Levison was able to collect them today.

Thank you so much to Andy Bottomer of Community Sports Leaders Africa for his continued support. We really appreciate your help, and the young people will be delighted to have these posts.

Walking to the Maize Mill

Sarah’s blog 27/9/22

I’m filled with sadness and determination writing this blog. Sadness because children should not be having to live like this. Determination because we will continue to work hard to change their lives for the better.

Levison met these three children; Joseph, Martha and Hope walking to the nearest maize mill. Is it their maize that needs to be milled? No. They will be paid a tiny amount for walking, maybe the equivalent of the price of a bar of soap for the three of them. They will walk all day without any food. They will walk all day without any water unless they find a river to drink from which isn’t clean. All day without food and water carrying their heavy burdens. No child should have to do that.

Levison said the children have to walk over 12km there and 12km back to the nearest maize mill. 24km for these little children with these heavy loads with no food or clean water. Joseph, Martha and Hope and many more children should not have to do this for a bit of extra money to buy food. By sponsoring a child, there is a monthly food parcel for the child, meaning that they don’t have to carry the burden of someone else’s maize for over 24km. No child should have to earn a few pennies like this.

Children walking to get maize milled will find other children to walk with. They keep each other company on this arduous journey. They will chat to each other to pass the time but mainly it’s to try to keep each other safe. This journey is very dangerous, and children are at risk of being attacked, especially if they are on their own. The more of them that are travelling together reduces the risk to them but doesn’t stop attacks happening. Joseph, Martha and Hope and their friends should not have to live like this. They should not have to live in fear, be hungry and malnourished, carry other people’s heavy burdens and not have time to just be children. Building a maize mill is on Levison’s wish list.

The Feeding Programme feeds 500 children once a week. They receive a nutritious and substantial meal….their biggest meal of the week. We wish we could afford to send money to feed them more often as there are no agencies feeding children in schools in this area, however, at the moment, there is no additional money for this.

We have 90 children and young people matched with sponsors, so they have additional food each month. Many more children, including Joseph, Martha and Hope are waiting for sponsors to give them a helping hand. Can you support one of these three children or the many more who need your help? It’s less than £1 a day to sponsor a child. Or two friends could share the cost between them. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you can help very vulnerable child today. It might be the most important thing you ever do for one of these children.

We are building phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School so that all orphans and vulnerable children supported by The Foundation have the opportunity to go to secondary school. Only primary school is free in Malawi and, unless they have a sponsor to pay their fees, currently these children and young people do not progress to secondary education. They are desperate to learn. They are desperate to go to secondary school. They are desperate for a better life for themselves and their families. Education is their way out of poverty.

We are doing a challenge to fundraise for the school. Completing kilometres to travel the distance between here and the Foundation that the boxes travel. We need your kilometres to add to our total please. I don’t think anyone will have done as many difficult kilometres as Joseph, Martha and Hope. So, I am going to add their kilometres for this journey to our total. Please help us help these children. https://gofund.me/44a92444

As there are so many children requiring support, we are always requiring help with fundraising. It’s always about teamwork and we need you to join the team supporting these orphans and other vulnerable children. We cannot do what we do without your additional help. Here is the link to our fundraiser to build phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School. Please help us give the gift of education and a way out of poverty. https://gofund.me/44a92444 or you can email me for the charity bank details. If you could have a coffee morning, car wash, quiz night or another fundraising event to support the children we would be so grateful. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Levison with Joseph, Martha and Hope

Joseph, Martha and Hope carrying someone else’s maize on their long dangerous journey

Team Mackay at Falkirk

Sarah’s blog 26/09/22

More kilometres collected by Team Mackay at the weekend. They walked from The Kelpies (the two horse statues) to The Falkirk Wheel and back. That’s a distance of 16km x 4 = 64km. Well done and thank you Team Mackay! Please show your support for Team Mackay https://gofund.me/44a92444

Jackie has given me the latest total. Now 5,088.003km completed which is 38.71% of our journey from here to Malawi! That total is getting bigger…well done to everyone but there is still a long way to go! Please give us your kilometres. So if you have walked 2km today for example then just message me and we can add it to our total….it’s as easy as that. Or if you’ve been for a run or a cycle then let us know how many kms you’ve done. Every little helps and you don’t need to send a photo or get a mention in a post if you don’t want to. But the more people who donate a few kilometres then the quicker we will get there. Please help. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

To donate financially to our fundraiser you can email me for our bank details or donate at https://gofund.me/44a92444 We still need to raise lots of money to build phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School. Please help us give the gift of education. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Ewan, Adam, Jackie and Ben AKA Team Mackay with The Kelpies in the background
Ben and Jackie at the Kelpies
Ben and Jackie at the Falkirk Wheel

Building Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 25/09/22

It’s very exciting to see the work has started on the first phase of the new secondary school – Bright Futures Secondary School. This will be for the most vulnerable young people who would otherwise not go to secondary school.

Unfortunately, only primary education is free in Malawi. The nearest secondary schools are too far to travel daily so the students supported by The Foundation, and who have sponsors to pay their fees, have to board. These schools do not have enough places which is why Bright Futures Secondary School is much needed.

Everything we do is on a shoestring. We are a small charity, and we are achieving. However, there is still so much more to do. We are volunteers so you can be sure that all money that you give to our charity goes on projects. We do need your help to ensure that we can complete phase 1 of the school. We are building two classrooms and then more latrines. The staff accommodation block is almost finished but we do need more funding to complete the classrooms. Please help us? Please give the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444 Together we can make a difference. Together we can continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thank you for reading and supporting us. Sarah x

The Wear A Sports Shirt Day Football Tournament

Sarah’s blog 23/09/22

We have been extremely fortunate to have had donations of football kit and other sports kit from a variety of sources and we are very grateful for the donations and support we have received. If you see a kit that you recognise/donated in the photos or videos from this tournament, then feel free to share and tag teams or people.

The Foundation has hosted the first football tournament that will be held annually. It has been named after one of our supporters. Julian Chenery works tirelessly every weekend collecting preloved football kit and other sports kits to send to those who need them. Julian’s charity is called ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’ and that is what this annual tournament is called as a thank you for the ongoing support that Julian has given.

It has been very successful, well attended and enjoyed by all. Five teams received gifts of new (to them) football kits. The players in the local teams taking part are all aged between 14 and 20 years old.

Well done to The Bombers who were the overall winners beating Mtelera in the final 3 – 1.

In one of the videos you will see a man talking to the crowd. This is Mr Msachi and he is the chairperson of The Area Development Committee for Chisenga District. I asked Levison to summarise what he had said. Levison said “He was saying this is the first well organised short tournament. He is really thankful to the donors. He is very happy.”

As I have been preparing this post, Levison has messaged to say that he has been contacted by a journalist from Tuntufye Radio who had heard about this football tournament!

Footballs are always needed so if anyone would like to donate money for footballs then please do email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

I’m so thankful that it has been a success and was well organised, well attended and everyone enjoyed this first tournament. And, of course, we couldn’t do what we do without the help and support of everyone who has donated kit to us to send to The Foundation. It’s always about teamwork….so thank you for being part of our team. If you recognise any of the kits in this blog, then please do tag and share. Thank you again and hope you enjoy looking at the photos and videos. Sarah x

Mr Msachi, Chair of The Area Development Committee for Chisenga thanking the donors for the football kits and saying how well this new tournament has been organised.

Football Tournament

Sarah’s blog 22/9/22

This is only a short post…it’s been a hugely busy week in Malawi (and also here).

The young people are on holiday from school and Levison and team thought a football tournament between local teams would be a good idea. So that is what has been happening today and will conclude tomorrow.

Unfortunately, Levison has been busy with other things today so there is just one short video clip of a match, however I have been promised more photos tomorrow!

This is going to be an annual event and we decided that it would be nice to name it after someone who has been very good to The Foundation. Julian Chenery, whose charity is Wear a Sports Shirt Day, works tirelessly every weekend (and sometimes midweek too) going to football clubs, schools, other sports clubs etc to collect preloved sports kit that can be reused by those who need it. He supports lots of organisations. Julian has supplied the Foundation with football kit, hockey kit, tracksuits, Christmas jumpers and Santa hats over the few years we have known him.

So, this is another opportunity to say thank you to Julian for supporting us and The Foundation. More photos and videos from ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day Football Tournament’ will follow. Sarah x

How many kilometres now?

Sarah’s blog 22/9/22

Lots of people have been busy in the background adding kilometres to the total for our challenge. We are fundraising to build a desperately needed secondary school in rural northern Malawi and decided we would follow one of the routes that the boxes of aid travel. The total route is over 13,000km and we need more people ‘donating’ their kilometres to help us get to our total.

Do your children walk to school? Could they take part and let us know their totals for the week? Do you walk them to and from school? That means you will do double what your children do. Are you walking the dog every day? Or supermarket shopping? We need your kilometres please whether the total is big or small. The more people who help then the quicker we will get to our total. The local newspaper said they will feature our fundraising story every time we get to a significant goal. So please join in and tell us how many kilometres you’ve walked in a day/week. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

A few of the children that the Foundation supports ran 3km yesterday adding to our total. They were delighted to be helping and they also received some new clothes and flipflops too. So, the new total is 4,940.423 km which is 37.59%. Very well done everyone who has helped us so far…and if you’ve not donated any kilometres yet….please can you help us?

We are building Bright Futures Secondary School as there are not enough places available in the secondary schools nearby. Also, young people have to board as it’s too far to walk every day. Secondary education has to be paid for, so it makes it prohibitive for the majority of young people who are supported by the Foundation unless they have sponsors.

The school is being built in phases as we are on a shoestring budget as usual! Two classrooms will be built to start with, and we will add to the school over the next few years. Please will you help? These young people need a way out of poverty… they are desperate for education as they know this is the way to a better future for them and their families.

To donate you can get in touch by email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for our bank details or you can donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444 You can make a difference today. We need you to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Hope you enjoy the photos and videos of the children running yesterday. All of these children (apart from Catherine) would benefit from being matched with a sponsor, so please get in touch if you’d like to support one of them. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The two boys running 3km
The four girls running 3km
These four girls ran 3km and also received some new clothes. Only Catherine (pink top) has a sponsor. If you’d like to be a sponsor email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
Chimwemwe and Ivet received new clothes and ran 3km to add to our total. Both need sponsors.

Sisters – Naomi & Modester

Sarah’s blog 21/9/22

When The Foundation was still quite new, Naomi brought her baby sister to the Foundation to ask for food. Naomi was delighted to be able to feed her hungry baby sister, Modester. They had been very recently orphaned and it was a huge responsibility for Naomi to look after and feed her baby sister.

I thought it was such a powerful photo that Levison took that day. Naomi was happy that she could feed Modester, having gone through the grief and trauma of being orphaned. They have both been living with their grandmother since then. I have used that photo lots of times since then as it tells the story of what these orphans and vulnerable children go through and the difference The Feeding Programme makes to hundreds of children, even though it is only once a week.

The Foundation is a refuge for children in need. They know they will have someone to talk to, someone to listen to them. Someone to play with. Somewhere to forget their problems for a little while. A safe place to just be children.

I was delighted when Levison sent me a photo of Naomi and Modester the other day. Naomi is now 14 and in p8 and Modester is 5 and attending the nursery. They are both doing well but it would really help them if they could have a sponsor. We’d love to see them continue to thrive and have an additional food parcel going into their home. If you could sponsor one of these sisters, then please do let me know. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com It is £25 per month to sponsor a child which you can share with a friend to half the cost. It might be the most important gift you give to one of these girls. Please help?

Thanks for reading and please do let me know if you can help. Sarah x

Naomi and Modester when Modester was a baby and they’d both just been orphaned. And now age 14 and 5 looking well.
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